218 pages | 40 B/W Illus.
Printing and Painting the News in Victorian London offers a fresh perspective on Social Realism by contextualizing it within the burgeoning new media environment of Victorian London. Paintings labelled as Social Realist by Luke Fildes, Frank Holl and Hubert Herkomer are frequently considered to typify the sentimental Victorian genre painting that quickly became outdated with the development of modernism. Yet this book argues that the paintings must be considered as the result of the new experiences of modernity-the urban poverty that the paintings represent and, most importantly, the advent of the mass-produced illustrated news. Fildes, Holl and Herkomer worked for The Graphic, a publication launched in 1869 as a rival to the dominant Illustrated London News. The artists’ illustrations, which featured the growing problem of urban poverty, became the basis for large-scale paintings that provoked controversy among their contemporaries and later became known as Social Realism. This first in-depth study of The Graphic and Social Realism uses the approach of media archaeology to unearth the modernity of these works, showing that they engaged with the changing notions of objectivity and immediacy that nineteenth-century new media cultivated. In doing so, this book proposes an alternative trajectory for the development of modernism that allows for a richer understanding of nineteenth-century visual culture.
Contents: Introduction; ‘See for yourself’: printing the news in Victorian London; Ways of seeing the news: the Illustrated London News and The Graphic; Genre painting to breaking news: Frank Holl and the fallen woman; Fallen men and strong pictures: exhibiting and collecting social realism; Painting the news and advertising painting: Hubert Herkomer and the role of the artist in the age of new media; The return of the hero, 1891; Bibliography; Index.